Hello again blog!
You’re probably wondering where I’ve been for the past month and a bit! I’ve been busy working on studying for the board exam (on February 21st!) and completing my clinical practicum. I just finished hematology and I am now in Microbiology for 4 weeks. It’s been exciting and I’ve had the chance to learn a lot – a blog post coming in the near future.
In the meantime, I wanted to get the word out for a great event being held at The Michener Institute. The Med Lab Students’ Society and Alumni Association are holding a Networking event for 2nd and 3rd year students and alumni to connect and ask questions about the job market, field experience and how to be successful after graduation. The event is on November 14th from 5:30-7pm at Michener. If you are an alumni who would be interested in attending and help to prepare the future workforce please email email@example.com. I know we would love to have as many people as possible to share their experiences!
When I was seven years old, I received a microscope for Christmas from my parents. I used to play with it for hours on end – looking at the slides of bugs and bacteria that came with the set. From that point on, I was hooked and knew I wanted to have a future career in science. I had many great teachers through out my school years and family that cultivated that curiosity into a passion.
Unfortunately, some girls do not get that opportunity to grow and explore science due to limited access and social pressures. I knew I wanted to use my positive experience as a woman in Medical Laboratory Science to mentor girls to consider STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers as an option in the future. In my travels on Twitter, I came across hEr_Volution, an organization promoting STEM education in Canada to female students. Immediately, I reached out to see how I could be involved with them and promote what they were doing. After having a great phone conversation with Doina, the Executive Director of hEr_Volution, I was invited to host a workshop about my experience.
On August 24th, I had the pleasure of hosting a workshop for hEr_Volution at the Microsoft Store in Yorkdale Shopping Centre. I was able to speak about my experience as a Medical Laboratory Science student at The Michener Institute as well as provide insight to how vaccines are made and how medical testing is done. For a lot of younger children, this area is not touched in school until high school and it was great to be able to expose them to this line of work early on. I also included a fun hands-on activity to make “candy DNA” to teach the girls about the structure and function of DNA molecules!
Workshop attendees included young girls between the ages of 5-12 and also Toronto area educators that were looking how to further their knowledge about the Medical field. I had some great discussions on how to teach DNA techniques and testing to younger students in a concept then understand. Any opportunity to get science into schools in a fun way is something I support!
Myself with Executive Director Doina Oncel with her daughters Sarah and Maya.
I am honoured I was able to represent Medical Laboratory Science and female scientists to encourage girls to consider STEM careers. I strongly encourage you to get involved in your community and to visit hervolution.org to find out more about their work.
As many people do after high school, I went through the motions of starting University – hoping to find something I connect with for a future career. I always knew I would be in the science field in some way, I just didn’t know what exactly that would entail.
During my second year of University, I was taking a number of labs in Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry with Teaching Assistants (TAs) due to the larger class sizes. Some of the TAs aren’t as invested in the class as others so when you find a good one, you stick with them. I was placed in Misty’s lab section during my first semester and knew she was someone I would look up to for the rest of my career life. She was a Ph.D student in Biochemistry and was also a soccer player on the side. As one of the only women studying in her field and her passion for science, she truly had a profound effect on how I viewed my own future science career. I saw that the possibilities were there if I wanted to them, it just takes a little hard work.
After I graduated with my Bachelor of Science, I did not want to stop my education there. I felt unfulfilled, like there was more out there for me to learn. I decided to go back to school at The Michener Institute to obtain my diploma in Medical Laboratory Sciences and every day I thank myself for making that decision. I have been overwhelmed with the amount of opportunities I have been presented with during my time at Michener, including working with Rogers Social Insiders. I have been able to attend multiple conferences as a student, connect with industry professionals and work with organizations on STEM outreach. My decision to further my education has greatly changed my life and has allowed me see how valuable life long learning is.
The amazing thing is – anyone can have the same journey I had but unfortunately many do not due to lack of funding or accessibility to technology. On September 25th, Rogers is holding Rogers Youth Education Day to help fund mobile tech units across the country to help youth get the skills and experience they need to excel inside the classroom and beyond. These units will each contain 5 tablets, a Rocket™ mobile hotspot and LTE connectivity provided by Rogers and you can help make that happen.
Here’s where my readers come in. Each tweet on September 25th (TODAY!) using #BrighterFuture or share of a photo on Rogers Facebook page will donate $1 towards these mobile tech units being brought across the country. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can support this wonderful cause to help the youth of today succeed.
I’ve made it easy for you, click on this link to send out a tweet to donate $1!
My first week of clinical is done! It was definitely a week of firsts. I am in Histology this month and went though the first few days shadowing the Lab Assistants to see the flow of work, how specimens are processed and received. It was nice to get eased into the work rather than thrown to the wolves in the first few minutes! Here are some noteworthy things I was able to do this week:
1) I grossed skin specimens (for the first time) for processing. It was interesting to learn about the different types of specimens and how they differ when being grossed. Excisions, shaves and punches all have different methods and needs. It also depends if there are stitches in the tissue or if they are suspecting melanoma. It might sound boring to the average person but it’s amazing how much goes into making sure the appropriate samples are taken for diagnosis.
2) I got to cut open a gall bladder that was filled with a huge 25mm stone. The gall bladder was about 3X the size of a “typical” gallbladder and the person much have been in tremendous pain as there was also a stone lodged in the neck. Key note: It’s important to make sure you squeeze all the bile out before cutting… it can get a bit messy.
3) I started microtomy this weekend. Yes, the dreaded microtomy… but you know what? Everything went well! The wax was good, the tissues were soft and the blades were sharp. I am a little rusty but I was able to cut 60 slides in just over 3 hours today on my 2nd day, which I was happy with. 90% of the blocks require serials with most being 3x so they are more time-consuming than a 1x block. Apparently I have a static issue because a few of the ribbons were sticking to my hands so I need to figure out if I carry some kind of mystical charge that causes this issue. I had problems with static in my school’s microtomy lab but figured it was just the environment… apparently it’s me! Perhaps I will need to ground myself before cutting next time or I’ll have to pick up one of those “ion” bracelelts.
An accurate photo plus being me being coated in wax.
Lastly, I was awarded a OneLab Travel Grant from the American Society of Clinical Pathology to attend the 2013 General Meeting in Chicago! I blogged about the conference earlier this year when they announced that Hillary Clinton will be the Keynote speaker and my dream to attend. I applied for the grant on a whim thinking I wouldn’t have a chance as a international member but I am thrilled I was selected! I’ll be missing a few days of my clinical for the conference as it’s from Sept 18-21st, which is why I have been working at the lab this past weekend to make up time. It’s worth giving up some of my weekends to have such a great opportunity. I’m really doing the conference circuit this year since I went to LabCon2013 in back in May.
If you want to follow along, I’ll of course being tweeting using @MedLabMaven and @kurchenko. You can also follow the hashtag #ASCP13 on Twitter and Facebook. They will be livecasting some of the events so I recommend heading over to their Facebook page to see which ones you can catch!
Also, if you’re going to be at the ASCP conference, feel free to reach out and perhaps we can connect!
Tomorrow starts the first day of my Clinical Semester! I’m on the home stretch of my 2.5 years at Michener! I feel like I say this at the start of every semester but I can’t believe the day is finally here.
Alcian Blue stained Small Intestine
My first rotation is in Histology and I’ve been studying for the past few weeks to brush up on the mechanisms on staining and processing techniques – some of the things we weren’t able to do in school. The nerves are starting to kick in, as I’m sure they would for anyone but I’m hoping everything will be easy transition tomorrow. I want to make the most of my clinical semester and hopefully I’ll have some interested stories and cases to share throughout my time!
If you have any tips for my clinical semester, feel free to leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
The day is almost here!
I will be doing my Science of Cures workshop at the Microsoft Store @ Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. I’m excited to connect and teach young girls about scientific research and a little about what I do as a Medical Laboratory Science student.
Event on the City of Toronto website!
I arrived in Toronto earlier this evening to prep and to make sure I have everything ready for tomorrow. I moved to Ottawa earlier this month in preparation for my clinical semester at the hospitals in Ottawa for a little over 5 months. I’m very excited for the opportunity to learn and continue my education beyond the classroom.
Remember to bring your thinking caps tomorrow if you are coming to my workshop and if you have any questions feel free to bring those as well!
I had the honour of being invited to participate in a Google+ Hangout by Rogers Raising the Grade for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada about Blogging.
Rogers Raising the Grade has created technology centres across Canada that allow youth discover their interests, shape their career goals and plan for the future – something I complete support. They wanted to create a hangout that could be used to teach youth in their after-school program about blogging basics and how they can get started themselves. Also in the hangout were other bloggers and teachers that asked me more questions about my blog and how I got started.
I was definitely a bit nervous since I knew it was being recorded to be shared across Canada but I believe it came out pretty well! Check out the video below if you want some tips on blogging and how I got started.
Thanks again to Rogers for including me in this great program!
After months of deliberation and discussion (as noted in this post), I was able to decide on a business card for me! I enlisted the help of my roommate to design and edit some graphics that would work for a scientist’s card and have my card be memorable!
I love that she colour coordinated the back graphics in red, blue and yellow to match the simple line design on the front of the card.
I printed them using MOO.com, which I highly recommend. The quality of paper, design and service is above and beyond what I ever expected. For 50 business card I paid $25 including shipping (I had a 10% off coupon) and I had them within 2 weeks. If you do some digging on the internet you usually can find a 10 – 15% discount to use on your order.
Also, if you don’t have a designer friend you can use some of Moo’s designs which are very modern and simple. I definitely would have had no problem using one of those if I needed to!
Let me know what you think of my business card!
Everyone needs an agenda for school, especially when you’re in a high intensity program, to keep yourself organized. Here are some options to make your journey back to school a little easier and maybe a little bit more fun.
1. Lilly Pulitzer Small Agenda [Here] – $17
2. Moleskine 18 Month Weekly Planner [here] - $14
3. Moleskine Star Wars 18 Month Weekly Planner [here] -$15
Another super durable Moleskine with a great design!
4. Monthly Academic Desk Calendar $7 – Staples
Keep it on your desk so you can stay organized while studying!
5. Mead Madrid Weekly Planner $7.49 – Staples
Cute size perfect for your bag or purse.
What are some of your back to school essentials? Have you started preparing to go back yet? I know I’ve been slowly collecting some new pens and binders to prepare myself before I go off to clinical as well as start studying for the CSMLS exam.
As many of you know, I am a huge advocate for getting girls interested and involved in STEM careers. By chance, I found hEr_Volution on twitter one day in my daily twitter travels and was immediately interested in getting involved.
hEr_Volution (http://www.hervolution.org/) is a brand new organization in Toronto created to empower women in STEM and inspire the next generation of young women to consider a STEM career. They are currently putting on a great series of workshops in partnership with Microsoft Canada for young girls ages 5-14 with various STEM experts to spark that interest as well as raise money for the organization. Doina, the CEO invited me to present one of their upcoming workshops and I couldn’t say no! (And no, I’m not calling myself an expert!)
I will be presenting “The Science of Cures” on August 24th, 2013 at 11:00am @ The Microsoft Store in Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto, ON. I’m going to be speaking about how Diseases work, how vaccines are researched and why they are important in the medical field. Tickets are available for purchase on the EventBrite Page but I thought I’d be great to run a contest on my blog for my readers as well.
Here’s how it works – I have 2 tickets I will be giving away to the workshop. To enter, leave a comment below on who you’ll be giving the ticket to and why they’d love to be there. Winner must be a youth under 18 years of age. You can also tweet about the giveaway and follow me on twitter for extra entries. I’ll be drawing the winner on
Giveaway extended until **August 14th!**
CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW to be taken to my rafflecopter give away! (I was having problems embedding the link)
Hope to see you there!